Every Irish republican/resistance movement throughout the centuries has been infiltrated by spies and informers.
“The Troubles” in Northern Ireland were no different.
Wal Hannington, organiser of the 1930s Jarrow Hunger March in England, wrote
“All militant movements in conflict with the powers are subject to the treachery of the unprincipled wretch who betrays those who have trusted him”
Andrew Boyd described an informer
“The informer is usually a person of disreputable and untrustworthy character. He will have been a participant in the crimes of which his former associates are accused. He may have been a perjurer in previous courts. He may be motivated by the fact he has been given immunity from prosecution, promised financial reward or offered some other benefit and will therefore be willing to give the sort of evidence the police expect him to give”
Some of these observations certainly apply to
Eamonn Collins, an IRA supergrass who retracted his statement.
Some obviously don’t
Anonymous personal communication
“I didn’t choose Eamonn Collins as an assistant after his retraction. He was assigned to me for a couple of months to help me out with a project I was working on. He was clever, efficient, very competent. You couldn’t fault his work. Everything I asked him to do was done perfectly, exactly when I needed it, as I needed it. I hated him. He was responsible for blowing up my friend’s hotel. I was glad to see the back of him when he left”
Here’s Eamonn Collins’s own story as he told it himself.
Eamonn Collins was killed in January 1999. His death might have been a revenge killing for his writings against the IRA and for his 1998 court testimony in Dublin against Thomas “Slab”Murphy. After his testimony, Collins was heard to shout, “No hard feelings Slab”.
No one has ever been convicted of his murder. As late as 2014 three men were arrested for it and released unconditionally
Eamonn Collins: Killing Rage
Wal Hannington: Unemployed Struggles 1919-1836
Andrew Boyd: The Informers